Simpson Thacher, Links land Alliance Boots roles

Linklaters and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett have won instructions on Alliance Boots’ £400m debt buyback.

Simpson Thacher London partner Ian Barratt and New York partner Mark Pflug advised Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) on the deal, which will see the private equity house buy back a portion of the debt used to finance its 2007 buyout of Alliance Boots. KKR is buying back the debt for less than 70p in the pound.

Linklaters London banking partner Nick Syson is understood to have advised the banks on the deal. Syson, Barratt and Pflug took lead roles on the 2007 leveraged buyout, which was the largest of its kind in Europe.

Last year The Lawyer reported on UK and US lawyers debating the legality of debt buybacks (7 April 2008). The lender community and its advisers, such as Ashurst, argued that loan buybacks were prohibited under the terms of the Loan Market Association standard loan form.

Sponsors and US advisers such as Kirkland & Ellis and Simpson Thacher claimed that they were valid depending on the specifics of the loan documentation.

Simpson Thacher declined to comment, while Linklaters was unavailable.